Is JetBlue a good airline to fly as a family with young kids, particularly babies or lap infants?
I have a well-traveled one and a half year old, having taken him on over 100 flights now. JetBlue was the first airline we ever flew with him on a red-eye from Reno Tahoe to New York, and we’ve flown them a few times since. Here’s everything to know about JetBlue with a baby:
Booking on JetBlue with a Baby
Booking with a lap infant on JetBlue is as simple as adding them during the booking process. I recommend always doing this when possible with any airline to avoid calamity (like showing up to the airport for an international flight and finding that they never added the lap infant when you called, like I had happen with United and another blogger experienced with American.)
Children fly free as lap infants domestically, and will cost a portion of a normal fare plus taxes and fees internationally, as is standard.
If you opt to buy your infant their own seat on the airplane, bring along an FAA-approved car seat, or CARES harness if they can sit up on their own and meet the height and weight requirements, and plan to purchase a full-priced ticket.
Their website notes that you’ll be asked of proof of age, as children over 2 may no longer be lap infants, but we have only been asked once for this proof (by Southwest when my son was, laughably, 5 months old and clearly still a baby) over the course of all of our flights. Keep in mind for international flights, babies need a passport (but they can piggyback off of your TSA precheck!)
JetBlue Strollers and Baggage Policies
JetBlue allows one diaper bag, one stroller, and one car seat per lap infant free of charge. Lap infants do not otherwise have any checked baggage allowance. Breast pumps also do not count against carry-on allowance.
While you can check any of these as hold luggage, you can also bring the stroller to the gate to gate check as well.
Keep in mind that Blue Basic fares do not allow a carry-on bag, though a bag that can fit under the seat is still permitted. They note that a diaper bag does not count against allowance.
JetBlue Family Boarding and Seating
JetBlue states that they’ve “automated the family seating process, and it auto-seats any children ages 13 and under with an accompanying adult as early as booking time, if seats are available.”
They however note that “Blue Basic fares are subject to a fee for seat selection more than 24 hours before your flight (and also do not permit a carry-on bag) and may not be the best value for those traveling with kids.”
It’s true – I’ve flown Blue Basic solo with just a bag that could fit under the seat for weekend trips, but can’t see that making sense when traveling with a baby or toddler, especially since a packing list for infants is a long one, so we’ve always upgraded to a fare that allows checked baggage and lets us pick seats ahead of time. Keep in mind infants cannot be seated in emergency exit rows and there can only be one young child per row due to limited oxygen masks.
The nice thing about JetBlue is that they have the largest seats in domestic economy. While it’s not a HUGE difference, it sure is nicer flying them overnight than, say, Frontier or Spirit. You really feel that extra inch or two when it’s a long flight. They also have entertainment systems at every seat and at least one kid-friendly program per flight. Amazingly, they also offer free Wi-Fi for everyone on their flights. Their snacks are also nut-free.
JetBlue also offers priority boarding to anyone traveling with a stroller or car seat, which, unlike most major airlines, doesn’t name a specific age.
JetBlue Kids Meals and Bassinets
JetBlue does not appear to offer meals specifically meant for babies or young kids (in contrast to the impressive array on Japan Airlines, Singapore, Emirates, and Qatar), but they do have a wide range of snacks for purchase that include kid-friendly options. I always advocate bringing enough baby food on flights so that you don’t have to rely on the airline or terminal availability.
Unfortunately JetBlue does not appear to offer bassinets at this time.
Our Thoughts and Review on Flying JetBlue with a Baby
Our first flight with JetBlue was when my baby was three months old. It was a pretty quick and seamless process for boarding, and thankfully, although I think they are probably required to, the flight attendants did not make me remove my sleeping baby from the Solly Baby wrap during takeoff and landing.
The extra legroom when you have a lap infant is nice. Now that my son is a year and a half old, we still fly with him as a lap infant if it’s a flight of an hour or less, so that extra bit of legroom certainly does come in handy. However their policies on their basic fares of not allowing a carry-on are kind of annoying, so you’re basically forced to book a higher fare if you want to pick your seats, bring along more than a diaper bag, or check baggage.
They do not go above and beyond for parents in the way that some of the international carriers we have flown do, but when it comes to US-based airlines, they’re about as good as each other (see my Delta and Alaska review for more), which is to say fine, but not amazing.
Still, enjoy flying with JetBlue and if they happen to have the best price or timing, we definitely go for it. They also have a really nice terminal in JFK with places for kids to play if you have older kids as well.